Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the hot seat

A few months ago, as a bit of a lark, I filled in an online application to become a contestant on Channel 9's Millionaire Hotseat quiz show.

A couple of weeks later, I received an email, congratulating me that I had passed that first stage and was invited to attend an audition in Melbourne a week or so later.

So I did.
And I got through to the final stage, where I had my photo taken, and a video interview with the contestant coordinator was taped.

Some time passed, and then I received a call to say they wanted me on the show!

So on Monday this week, I found myself again in Melbourne, this time at the studios of Channel 9, for the taping of the show.

The process took all day, from 8:30am till about 5pm (the original wrap time was supposed to be 6:30, but we were let go early). I got the full treatment, with hair and makeup, wardrobe had to approve my clothing choice (which took two goes to get right, the first top I wore had too many small dots on it and would strobe on camera, so I had to change), and a rehearsal, to get us used to the set and what would happen on the show.

Finally, after lunch, we began taping the shows. Five shows were taped on Monday, so there was a group of 30 contestants (6 per show) that formed a bit of a community as we watched each show being taped, and cheered on as people won, and gasped when they came close, but not quite there.

Finally the time came for my show to be taped. My friend and former neighbour, Alan, was my 'friend in the audience', and we were set. It was a lot of fun, and as much as I have never really been a big fan of Eddie Maguire, I have to say that in person he really is a nice guy, and very good at what he does.

Did I win a million dollars? Well, I signed a piece of paper that says I won't disclose that till after the episode goes to air. So if you want to know how I went, you'll have to watch the show on Friday 6th November.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Friday is the 2-year anniversary of Dad's death. It's been interesting to monitor my feelings as this date approaches, and I was particularly surprised by my very negative reaction to the whole Fathers' Day palaver this year.

As the TV ads, junkmail and various email promotions bombarded me with the "perfect gift for Dad!" messages in the lead up to September, I became more and more agitated and likely to burst into tears for no apparent reason.

I was in New Norcia on study leave on that particular day, and remember a woman who was a fellow participant in the weekend retreat making a scathing comment about how the priest who presided at Mass on that Sunday prayed for "the fathers" but not for mothers. Someone else pointed out, "that's probably because today is Fathers' Day," and that almost subliminal mention of fathers in the prayer of intercession was the only reference to Fathers' Day in the Mass.

My response to hearing that comment (as I hadn't quite realised the significance of the date) was, "Finally... thank God it's finally come, now the advertising will stop".

It's not as if Fathers' Day was anything special when Dad was alive- we never made much of a deal of Mothers' or Fathers' Days. My usual filial duty consisted of a phone call on the day, and maybe a card, if they were really lucky (and I remembered to send it... they often would have arrived after the fact, as I'm a bit vague about such dates). But for some reason, this year, even more than last year, the fact that I was fatherless on Fathers' Day hit me.

This year, I won't have the opportunity to do anything particular to mark the date, as I will be spending Friday travelling to Canberra, and participating in a seminar on music and liturgy. (Last year, I watched the DVD recording of Dad's funeral, and then rang Mum and we cried together over the phone). This year, Mum will be in Newcastle, with my aunt and cousin, so at least she won't be alone, which is a good thing. I imagine we'll cry at each other over the phone once we both get back home and have the chance to catch up with each other.

It's hard to believe it's been two years. I still miss you Dad.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Floral update

I realise that in being such a slack blogger in recent times, I have neglected to share the progress of my potted bulbs.

I enjoyed a lovely crop of daffodils and jonquils (the last of which are now in a vase on my dining table), and also some delightful tulips, including some dark purply-black blooms which were pretty spectacular.

These have all now pretty much finished blooming, and in their place, the rinunculi and anemones are taking over, and looking lovely, with the freesias also starting to bloom. Just gorgeous!

Here are some pics of the early jonquils, some tulips and the early stage of the rinunculi and anemones.

I'm also discovering lots of flowers popping up all over the place in the manse garden. In addition to some amazing daffs and jonquils, there have been bluebells irises, winter roses, and now some freesias, and some rather colourful things that I have no idea what they are, but they look pretty.